Tile Skirting vs Wood Baseboard Molding

Oh, all the details!! By pure chance during conversation this week, I discovered the plan in our Chennai apartment was to install tile skirting where the walls meet the tiled floors. I had been envisioning a thick, wide wood baseboard molding there.


Or this:

Wood Baseboard Molding Examples

All the tile will be installed very soon, so a quick note to the architect put the brakes on the tile skirting plan. Whew. That could have happened without even knowing it was going to happen.

Although visually I think wood is better, now I embark on research to double-check that idea. There are nagging doubts. Because just like I was told to eat yogurt with spicy food, at first I resisted the idea before realizing how it makes perfect sense. Perhaps there is good reason for tile skirting instead of wood molding? I realize tile skirting is common, but to me it invokes “hospital room.”

EDITED TO ADD: Here is a post about styles of wood baseboard molding.

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8 Replies to “Tile Skirting vs Wood Baseboard Molding”

  1. hey i m getting my house done in mumbai and am confused with wood or tile skirting. So what did you choose eventually? wood/tile.

    1. Hi! We were just in Chennai over the past few weeks and chose wood. We chose a “Malaysian hardwood” because it will be painted over, so we didn’t need teak. The skirting is about 7″ high, so that’s why we wanted wood — we wanted a higher skirting look and something with curves. A lot of people warn us about maintenance. I have no idea what we’ll run into with that, although I’d imagine tile would be easier maintenance. But this is not a full-time home, it’s used only periodically so we’re not super worried. I hope this helps! We will paint the wood skirting with a glossier paint that’s easier to clean than a matte paint.

  2. We r also building a house @chennai. I too wished for a good and durable wall skirting… n surprisingly got to see a website of chennai based tilemakers, (http://www.dazzletiles.com/Skirting-tile-Final-Touch.html)
    very happy to see the skirting tile picture which 100% suited my expectation. but disappointed to know that it was a staircase wall skriting tile. Why on earth there’s no such thing in tiles-readymade? (though I saw some marble skirting tiles online…I was not satisfied with the pricing n we don’t much time to wait for the delivery of them)…hmmm…
    I wonder, anybody on earth ever had a 100% satisfied-a -“Dream home”…???

    1. Hi, wall skirting as tile is a great idea! Wow, I’m not sure why someone would manufacture only staircase wall skirting tile? Because wouldn’t the same skirting tile also go around a room?

      There is tile as skirting available in the U.S. but can be expensive. We used tile skirting in a bathroom we renovated in our Chicago house and it’s very nice, but good thing we didn’t need much of it for a smaller room.

      We got all our tile for the apartment from Vaigai Sanitation in Chennai. At the time I hadn’t thought of skirting tile! They have a large selection of tile. You could check with them and see if they know where to get skirting tile for you.

      And I know about the “dream home” thing – it’s easy to get great ideas and not so easy to make them happen! There’s always something that doesn’t go right. But in the end I think if the home overall is where we can be happy, we should be happy! I hope this helps! Deb

  3. Hi Deb,
    Thank u so much for ur immediate response n help… I’ll definitely try my luck with vaigai.
    (if such a thing is not available, I’ll go for a dark shade tile-skirting which matches the floor tiles…)
    The staircase- skirting tile -I mentioned earlier is made of concrete which is not normally used indoors…
    Actually we r in London at present n the house is getting ready @chennai.. (It’s too difficult to convey everything to the Engineer -over the phone n in mails, really…)
    about the ‘Dream home’ u r 100% correct..!
    and, I can’t wait to see ur finished house in ur blog…!!

    1. Oh I know what you are talking about regarding it being difficult to convey things to the engineer and architect over the phone and emails! We had the same difficulty. I’ve heard from many people they just go and stay right at the location while people are working on it, to be sure things are well supervised. We have put the finishing construction on our apartment on hold unless we are there, so it is very slow progress. Like we are visiting next week, and we can sleep in the apartment. There is air conditioning. There are a few toilets in the apartment but none of them are installed! :) So to use any water, like the toilet or shower, we will have to go down three flights of stairs to my in-laws’ apartment! Someday we will finish it. I wish you the best with your place in Chennai! Deb

  4. 8 years later, so probably irrelevant for you now, but for anybody else looking into this, the tile baseboard is the default option for tile flooring because of the “flooded room” scenario, which is one of the primary reasons to go with tile flooring. if you have an inch of standing water in a room for 5-6 hours with big pretty painted wood baseboard you may be ripping it out and replacing it every time that happens. if you have tile baseboard you just clean up the water and move on with your life.

    if tile floor is being chosen only for design reasons and water isn’t a concern then feel free to pick whatever baseboard you want.

    1. Great point! Flooding is an important factor for choosing tile vs wood baseboard. People definitely should use tile where flooding is a possibility – in basements, on ground floors near flood zones.

      In our basement in the Chicago area, we have had flooding and recently ripped out all wood trim, shelves, entertainment centers and doors that were installed by previous owners. All wood was wrecked and starting to get mold. I’m always astounded when people pay a lot of money to install very nice finished basements with materials that flooding will ruin. They have better insurance than we’ve had, they have more money to re-do basements, or they are overly optimistic. Take your pick!

      In our India apartment, it’s up on the top floor and unless significant flooding comes through the ceiling or balconies — still always possible, I guess — we face minimal risk. Also we’re able to add wood baseboards in India for a fraction of the cost in the U.S., so if we do need to replace some, it’s not unaffordable for us.

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